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Experimental approaches in migration studies

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  • McKenzie, David
  • Yang, Dean

Abstract

The decision of whether or not to migrate has far-reaching consequences for the lives of individuals and their families. But the very nature of this choice makes identifying the impacts of migration difficult, since it is hard to measure a credible counterfactual of what the person and their household would have been doing had migration not occurred. Migration experiments provide a clear and credible way for identifying this counterfactual, and thereby allowing causal estimation of the impacts of migration. The authors provide an overview and critical review of the three strands of this approach: policy experiments, natural experiments, and researcher-led field experiments. The purpose is to introduce readers to the need for this approach, give examples of where it has been applied in practice, and draw out lessons for future work in this area.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 5395.

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Date of creation: 01 Aug 2010
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:5395

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Keywords: Population Policies; Access to Finance; Remittances; Anthropology; Debt Markets;

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References

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  1. Karlan, Dean S. & Zinman, Jonathan, 2009. "Expanding Microenterprise Credit Access: Using Randomized Supply Decisions to Estimate the Impacts in Manila," CEPR Discussion Papers, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers 7396, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. HwaJung Choi, 2007. "Are Remittances Insurance? Evidence from Rainfall Shocks in the Philippines," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, World Bank Group, vol. 21(2), pages 219-248, May.
  3. Angus Deaton, 2010. "Instruments, Randomization, and Learning about Development," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 48(2), pages 424-55, June.
  4. Dean Yang, 2004. "Why Do Migrants Return to Poor Countries? Evidence from Philippine Migrants’ Responses to Exchange Rate Shocks," Working Papers, Research Seminar in International Economics, University of Michigan 513, Research Seminar in International Economics, University of Michigan.
  5. Mishra, Prachi, 2007. "Emigration and wages in source countries: Evidence from Mexico," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 82(1), pages 180-199, January.
  6. Rosenzweig, Mark R. & Stark, Oded, 1987. "Consumption Smoothing, Migration and Marriage: Evidence from Rural India," Bulletins, University of Minnesota, Economic Development Center 7515, University of Minnesota, Economic Development Center.
  7. John Gibson & David McKenzie & Steven Stillman, 2011. "The Impacts of International Migration on Remaining Household Members: Omnibus Results from a Migration Lottery Program," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 93(4), pages 1297-1318, November.
  8. Antman, Francisca M., 2011. "The intergenerational effects of paternal migration on schooling and work: What can we learn from children's time allocations?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 96(2), pages 200-208, November.
  9. Stark, Oded & Helmenstein, Christian & Yegorov, Yuri, 1997. "Migrants' Savings, Purchasing Power Parity, and the Optimal Duration of Migration," Economics Series, Institute for Advanced Studies 44, Institute for Advanced Studies.
  10. David McKenzie & Hillel Rapoport, 2010. "Self-Selection Patterns in Mexico-U.S. Migration: The Role of Migration Networks," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 92(4), pages 811-821, November.
  11. Dean Yang, 2006. "International Migration, Remittances, and Household Investment: Evidence from Philippine Migrants' Exchange Rate Shocks," NBER Working Papers 12325, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Steven Stillman & David McKenzie & John Gibson, 2006. "Migration and Mental Health: Evidence from a Natural Experiment," Working Papers in Economics, University of Waikato, Department of Economics 06/04, University of Waikato, Department of Economics.
  13. Dustmann, Christian, 2003. "Return migration, wage differentials, and the optimal migration duration," European Economic Review, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 47(2), pages 353-369, April.
  14. Dean Yang, 2006. "Coping with Disaster: The Impact of Hurricanes on International Financial Flows, 1970-2002," NBER Working Papers 12794, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Claudia Martínez Alvear & Dean Yang, 2007. "Remittances and Poverty in Migrants’ Home Areas: Evidence from the Philippines," Working Papers, University of Chile, Department of Economics wp257, University of Chile, Department of Economics.
  16. Lucas, Robert E B & Stark, Oded, 1985. "Motivations to Remit: Evidence from Botswana," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(5), pages 901-18, October.
  17. Gibson, John & McKenzie, David & Stillman, Steven, 2010. "Accounting for selectivity and duration-dependent heterogeneity when estimating the impact of emigration on incomes and poverty in sending areas," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5268, The World Bank.
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Cited by:
  1. Rob Hodgson & Jacques Poot, 2011. "New Zealand Research on the Economic Impacts of Immigration 2005-2010: Synthesis and Research Agenda," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 1104, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
  2. Frédéric Docquier & Hillel Rapoport, 2011. "Globalization, Brain Drain and Development," Working Papers, Bar-Ilan University, Department of Economics 2011-18, Bar-Ilan University, Department of Economics.

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